District Reopening Plan

Royal School District 2020-2021 Reopening Plan

Original publication first published July 22, 2020. For copies of previous drafts, please contact the Superintendent's Office at 509-346-2222.

Last updated: October 27, 2020


Introduction

Like districts across our state and nation, Royal School District has been working diligently over the summer on plans and preparation for how to return to school safely this fall. During the Spring 2020 COVID-19 closures, schools and communities across our nation learned many valuable lessons. We also recognize that a Reopening Plan that works in one district may not work in a neighboring district. Each of our communities are unique.

As we prepare for Royal School District’s scheduled first day of school on Friday, August 28, we are committed to keeping our staff, families, and community members informed. We have developed a webpage dedicated to our reopening information and plans at www.royalsd.org/reopen. As guidelines and expectations from state and health authorities come our way, we will continue to post updates to our Reopening website. We will remain flexible and prepared to make necessary adjustments in our plans for how best to deliver instruction and support services.

As a school district, our commitments are to:

  • Lead with the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff as our first priority
  • Adhere to the health and safety requirements of the Washington Department of Health (DOH)
  • Provide all Royal students with high quality instruction that meets Basic Education requirements and essential learning standards
  • Provide our staff with the training and support necessary to safely and successfully perform their work
  • Ensure that any hybrid learning models:
    • Safely maximize the amount of face-to-face, in-person instruction for all students
    • Are differentiated in their approach by grade band and student need
  • Provide consistency for families

This final draft of our Reopening Plan will be submitted to the Royal School Board for adoption through an official resolution at their August 13, 2020 meeting. Following approval by the school board, the plan will be submitted to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

COVID Reopening Contacts in Our District

  1. Primary local health officers:
  2. Theresa Adkinson, Grant County Health District Liaison to Royal School District
  3.  Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer
  4. Royal reopening district-level point of contact: Roger Trail, Superintendent, 509-346-2222
  5. Linda Achondo, Executive Director of Student and Teacher Services, 509-346-2222
  6. Kim Mead, Director of Food Services, 509-346-2257 Ext. 3500
  7. Gary Winston, Athletic Director, 509-346-2434

Reopening Schedule Options

Royal School District began school on August 28, 2020 providing families with two learning model options: Option 1: Hybrid 50/50 model – All Grades in School + Remote Learning; or Option 2: 100% Remote Learning. Those models are described below.

On October 9, 2020, we announced our decision to to transition all* students in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as special education and high-risk students K-12, back to school in-person every day, following this gradual transition:

Beginning Monday, October 26th:

Red Rock Elementary – All students* in kindergarten and 1st grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

Royal Intermediate School - All students in 4th grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

ALL School Buildings – All special education students, those with an IEP, and students identified by principals/staff as needing additional support or being at high risk (including unsuccessful online learners), will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

Beginning Monday, November 16th:

Red Rock Elementary – All students* in 2nd and 3rd grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

Royal Intermediate School – All students in 5th grade will begin attending school in-person, Monday-Friday.

* Students who signed up for Royal's 100% Online Learning will continue online through the first semester, which ends January 25. All students who signed up for online learning committed to a full semester as part of the registration process, and will NOT return to school in-person prior to January 25. 

Option 1: Hybrid 50/50 model – In School + Remote Learning

Under this learning model, students will spend half their time in school and the other half engaged in remote learning at home. Students will be grouped into “cohorts,” and we will have A days and B days. Half our students will attend in-person classes on A days, while the other half will learn remotely. Students will be grouped into two cohorts by last name: students with a last name beginning with the letter A-L will be assigned to Cohort A; students with a last name beginning with the letter M-Z will be assigned to Cohort B.

The key characteristics of this model include:

  • Predictable schedules for families, students, teachers, community childcare, tutoring, and activities
  • To the extent possible, priority for students within the same family to follow the same weekly schedule – M/W or T/TH
  • Split/alternating schedule on-site with continuous remote learning off-site, e.g. students will be split into a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday grouping
  • On every other Friday, students will attend half-days at school in-person with their cohort. For example, Cohort A will attend school in-person from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Fridays during week 1 and 3, while Cohort B will attend Fridays in-person on weeks 2 and 4.
  • At the approval of the Royal Education Association (REA), late-start Mondays have been changed to late-start Fridays.
    • This means that teachers and staff will be engaged in professional learning time each Friday morning until 11:00 AM. Students will begin class at 11:00 AM, either in-person or remotely, depending on their cohort.

Option #2 – 100% Remote Learning

You have options on what returning to school looks like for you and your family. Royal School District will offer a remote-only learning option for families who do not yet feel comfortable having their students return to school in-person. This would be a “new and improved” version of last spring’s Continuous Distance Learning. Additionally, as the 2020-21 school year progresses, our district must be prepared to switch to remote distance learning for all students if cases spike or local outbreaks occur and schools are forced to close. During remote learning, attendance, grades, assessments, and daily work will be mandatory. Royal School District will utilize Google Classroom as our consistent learning platform. Royal teachers will deliver instruction and learning through a blend of synchronous (teacher interacting “real-time” online with students) and asynchronous (non-“real-time”) instruction.

Health Requirements

Health & Safety of Staff

All Washington school districts must adhere to the Department of Health (DOH) and Labor and Industries (L&I) guidance. It is important for all Royal school staff to familiarize themselves with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of high-risk employees, and to understand they have the right to identify themselves to the Royal School District as a high-risk individual. From July 22-26, nearly 70% of Royal School District employees responded to a district survey around priorities and concerns for returning to school in the fall.

Any staff member with questions or concerns about workplace accommodations, leave expectations, and other employee rights is encouraged to contact Lara Snyder at 509-346-2222 Ext. 4004.

General Health and Safety Measures

In anticipation of having students and staff back in our school buildings, the district will implement a variety of health and safety measures.

Screening & Attestations

Students and staff must attest they are healthy and free of COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the building each day. All students are screened before getting on the bus or entering the school building. Daily screening consists of taking their temperature and asking screening questions regarding symptoms and exposure. After completing the screening, the student receives a stamp for the day, which staff look for as students enter the building.

Screening Questions:

  1. In the last 24 hours, have you had:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue (tired no energy)
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • Muscle or body aches
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  2. In the last 14 days, have you had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19?

Please see the Grant County Health District Symptom Screening Flowchart for details on the process Royal School District is following in regards to when students/staff can or cannot go to school or may be sent home if they are exhibiting symptoms.

All students riding buses will have their temperature taken prior to being able to board the bus. Additionally, students will be screened prior to entering the building and will have their temperature taken by identified staff screeners at specific sets of doors for each building. 

All school district employees must complete a daily health screening and attestation utilizing the Skyward app prior to entering the building. Any student or staff member determined to have a fever will be sent home immediately. 

Handwashing

Students and staff will be reminded regularly about the importance of proper handwashing.
Teachers may allow for more breaks to give students the opportunity to wash their hands, either at a classroom sink or in a restroom.

In addition, we will place hand sanitizer units throughout our buildings. Students and staff will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer regularly.

Masks and PPE

All students, staff, volunteers, and guests must wear face coverings, face mask or any other PPE as required by DOH /OSPI L&I WA employer requirements. School districts are required by law to provide face coverings for all employees as part of Washington employer requirements. Families are asked to provide the required face coverings for their student(s), and the District will maintain an adequate supply of face coverings on our premises to accommodate students who arrive at school without a face covering. Each school and district building will have disposable face coverings readily accessible for students, staff, and/or guests who arrive without a covering.

*NOTE: In early August, RSD received updated guidance from our local health authority prohibiting the wearing of face shields in place of face masks. Face shields may be worn in addition to, but not in place of, face masks. Face shields should not be used as an alternative to cloth face coverings without an approved waiver.

Employees should consult these resources:

Cleaning & Disinfecting

Our custodial staff will significantly increase the wiping down and disinfecting of public spaces and high-touch surfaces across our buildings and throughout the school day, consistent with DOH guidance and the Infection Control Handbook 2010. We will also provide greater access to cleaning materials for our teachers and staff so that they can clean and disinfect spaces, as needed.

Each afternoon/evening, our custodial team will conduct a thorough cleaning of our spaces, again disinfecting high-touch surfaces like sinks, drinking fountains, door handles, tables, and desks.

Physical Distancing

We have altered our indoor classroom and common spaces and reconfigured our processes to ensure six feet of physical distance between all persons in our school facilities as a planning framework. All K-6 desks will be separated by 6 feet. In those classrooms that have tables instead of desks, students will use portable lap desks. We are using additional common spaces to ensure six feet of physical distance between all persons in our school facilities.

OSPI Reopening Guidance recognizes that there will be limited times when students and/or staff may need to be within six feet for short periods of time. This includes the accommodation of students with disabilities or others who meet the exceptions in order to deliver equitable services.


Student Transitions

Student Drop-Off / Pick-Up

Parents/guardians will be asked to remain in vehicles when dropping off or picking up students. Morning drop-off of students at RIS will be moved to the lane where buses park in order to facilitate an increase in parent drop-offs. A fence will be installed to create a walking lane in the drop off area for student safety. Work with Grant County has begun to create an additional exit out of the intermediate school parking lot. RRE & RMS will continue to enforce their new parking lot drop-off and pick-up procedures. Detailed instructions on the drop-off and pick-up guidelines will be communicated with families prior to the start of school.

Transitions Between Classes

To help avoid situations in which large groups of students are gathered in one place, we will adjust the way students move between classrooms and other spaces in our schools. While in hallways, students will transition by cohort and will maintain six feet of distance between themselves, wearing face coverings at all times.

At Red Rock and Royal Intermediate Schools, students will transition as cohorts. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times. Using outside transitions, where possible, is encouraged.

In our middle school, students will have staggered class dismissal. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times.

In our high school, we will have staggered class dismissal where possible and utilize the outside of the building for transitions. Six feet of distance will be maintained, and face coverings will be worn at all times.

Entering/Exiting Schools

To protect students’ safety and provide for more orderly temperature taking, all students will enter and exit each building at identified sets of doors. Family members should not leave their vehicles when picking up or dropping off students.

Food Services

The district will provide meals to children on a daily basis, even if they are not physically in our school buildings on a particular day. We have altered physical spaces, reconfigured schedules, and adopted necessary plans to provide meals to students that ensures six feet of physical distance between all persons.

In-School Cafeteria Procedures

To avoid situations in which students are gathered in groups, we will adjust our typical breakfast and lunch room service schedule in each of our schools.

At Red Rock Elementary, the Food Service staff delivers breakfast and lunch to the classrooms. The students stay in their classroom to eat. Red Rock students will return to their classrooms to eat lunch, removing their face coverings while eating and maintaining six feet of distance between students at all times. 

At RIS, students will eat their breakfast in their classrooms and lunches outside (weather permitting) or in a combination of the cafeteria and gymnasium. Students will maintain six feet of distance while in line and when eating. Face coverings will be removed while eating. Students will be seated by their cohort class.

Grades 7-12 will have staggered lunch times. Students will maintain six feet of distance while in line and when eating. Face coverings will be worn at all times, except when students are eating. All students will be encouraged to eat outside (weather permitting).

Out-of-School Meal Service

Just as we did during the Spring 2020 school closures, we will ensure all students receive meals each weekday, even if they are not in our buildings. Students will use their on-site days to pick up their meals for the following day when they will be engaged in remote learning at home. (For example, a student on-site Mondays would pick up his/her Tuesday meal before leaving school on Monday, and his/her Thursday (and sometimes Friday) meal before leaving school on Wednesdays. More information and detailed instructions will be provided to students and families during the first week of school.

In the event of a school closure, we will communicate our meal delivery schedule and process, as we did during the Spring 2020 closures.


Technology Access

Due to the high likelihood that all students will need to engage in remote or online learning at some point in the school year, the district will provide Chromebooks for students who do not have reliable access to a computer at home. During the Spring of 2020, all Royal students in grades K-12 were issued a Chromebook and instructed to keep it over the summer. If you did not receive a device at that time and would like to learn more about reserving a device for your student, please call our Technology Department at 509-346-2455 or email tech@royalsd.org.

We also know that not all families have reliable internet access at home. The district provided Wi-Fi hotspots to many families during the spring of 2020. These hotspots are disabled during the summer months and will be reactivated on the first day of school. We want to ensure all students have the tools they need to learn remotely. If you did not receive a hotspot during the spring of 2020 or are experiencing connectivity issues, please contact our Technology Department.


Athletics & Extracurriculars

Washington’s schools will follow the guidelines provided by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA). All Royal school facilities will remain closed to the public until the district’s Reopening Plan is approved by the Grant County Health District. On July 21, 2020, the WIAA announced its decision to continue with athletics on a modified sports schedule for the 2020-21 year. Instead of the traditional Fall, Winter, and Spring athletic seasons, there will be four athletic seasons this year between September 7, 2020 and June 26, 2021. Each season will consist of approximately 7 weeks’ worth of competition for each sport, including 1 week of pre-participation. However, all sports will not be able to start at once. Each sport has a specific set of requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to start. For example, each sport has a set of COVID-19 county phase requirements in place and a limit for the number of participants allowed in athletic contests. Consequently, on August 5th, the South Central Athletic Conference (SCAC) announced that there will not be any sporting events taking place during season 1 of the 2020-21 year.

In addition, on August 7th, the Grant County Health District and the Washington State Department of Health recommended that all athletics/activities such as drama, choir, band, weight training, drill teams, and cheer should be postponed. With this in mind, the WIAA has created an additional modified, out-of-season time frame that allows for out-of-season team activities and workouts if permitted, between September 28th and November 30th. This would allow Royal to offer a number of sporting opportunities for students with coaches present, similar to what typically happens during the summer months.

Our district will follow the guidelines set forth by the WIAA and DOH to the extent possible. We will continue to assess the safety and feasibility of resuming these activities at a sooner time. As more information unfolds from the WIAA and the SCAC, we will provide updates for students, parents, and community members through our Royal Facebook page and the Royal HS athletic website (royalsd.org/athletics).


Transportation

Ensuring students remain physically distanced on school buses is a significant challenge, and OSPI reopening guidance requires that students sit one child to a seat, to the extent possible, as long as there are enough seats to do so. OSPI has designated busing as an exception to the six-foot physical distancing rule, so long as the district exercises proper cleaning, maximum ventilation when reasonable, face coverings on students and adults, and proper PPE for our drivers.

Face coverings must be worn by bus drivers and all students. Students not wearing a face covering will be provided a disposable face covering. All students will sanitize their hands prior to boarding the bus and will be assigned seats by household. Outside airflow will be maximized by keeping bus windows open as much as possible.

Students living within city limits will be encouraged to walk or be driven to school. We will be sending home a detailed map with identified safe walking routes. We are working with the Royal City Police Department and Fire District on ensuring the safety of our students walking to and from school. We will be placing crossing guards at all major intersections.